The COT! Q+A


COT! checks in with National Vision’s vice president of professional service, O.D. development, on supporting the optometrist network

As one of the country’s largest optical retailers, National Vision has more than 1,100 U.S. locations, and its retail brands are America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Eyeglass World, Vista Opticals inside select Fred Meyers and on select military bases, and Vision Centers inside select Walmarts.

Alexander Smith, O.D., vice president of professional service, O.D. development, explains that his primary function “is to support and advocate on behalf of the doctors that are part of or affiliated with National Vision’s Doctor of Optometry Network.”

“As an O.D. myself,” adds Dr. Smith, “I understand what it’s like to be in our corporate O.D.s’ shoes. I try to use that clinical perspective each day to advocate on their behalf, ensuring they have what they need to take care of the patients that need them so much.”


Q: What drew you to optometry?

A. “Optometry is in my blood; my father is an optometrist. In fact, he was one of the very first advocates of corporate optometry. I grew up hearing stories about corporate optometry around the dinner table, which helped me recognize and understand that there is such an incredible need for affordable, accessible eye care. I’m proud to work for an organization that focuses on providing eye care to those most in need.”


Q. What attracted you to National Vision?

A. “Its culture is focused on patients and doctors. It supports flexibility in working in a variety of practice modalities, from employment to lease opportunities, depending on the level of business involvement an optometrist is looking for. Additionally, National Vision’s Doctor of Optometry Network provides doctors the ability to focus on patients while maintaining a flexible schedule and balance with their other life priorities.”


Q. Describe National Vision’s patient base.

A. “We focus on the underserved. Doctors in our network are often the only healthcare provider these patients see. The amount and types of pathology seen varies every day, allowing doctors to stretch their clinical skills. And as a company, we are giving back through various philanthropic partnerships.”


Q. How do you retain doctors?

A. “We offer sophisticated onboarding and training opportunities, as well as consistent support and mentorship throughout their time practicing in our locations. We believe our network has one of the best retention rates in the industry.”


Q. Describe an O.D.’s practice at National Vision.

A. “Optometrists in our network practice full-scope optometry and are able to practice to their own comfort level. O.D.s in our network are often handling acute ocular diseases and identifying life-threatening conditions that may not otherwise have been diagnosed. Doctors practicing in our locations are literally saving lives.”


Q. What’s ahead for the profession?

A. “The future is bright, as long as we align together toward a common goal of taking care of patients. There are so many patients that need to be seen, and I truly believe there is room for all types of practitioners and practices.” COT!